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White Hot Stamper

Alice Cooper
School's Out

  (Item #: coopeschoo_2008) 

Our Price: $399.99

  • A stunning sounding copy of Cooper's 1972 release with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Surprisingly rich and full-bodied, the best copies really ROCK with big bass and punchy drums - just the right Alice Cooper sound
  • The beloved title track remains the most-performed song in his concert history, and the presence on this copy will put the band right there in your listening room
  • 4 1/2 stars: "School's Out catapulted Alice Cooper into the hard rock stratosphere, largely due to its timeless, all-time classic title track."
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White Hot Stamper

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Damn the Torpedoes

  (Item #: pettydamnt_2007) 

Our Price: $349.99

  • With a Triple Plus (A+++) shootout winning side two and a better than Double Plus (A++ to A+++) side one, this copy is practically as good as it gets
  • Credit for the in-the-room presence and energy of the recording goes to the brilliant engineer Shelly Yakus
  • Damn the Torpedoes is, simply put, the best sounding Tom Petty album we have ever played
  • Tons of hits too: Refugee, Here Comes My Girl, and my favorite of the bunch, Don't Do Me Like That
  • 5 stars: "Few mainstream rock albums of the late '70s and early '80s were quite as strong as this, and it still stands as one of the great records of the album rock era."
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White Hot Stamper

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Southern Accents

  (Item #: pettysouth_2002_1) 

Our Price: $299.99

  • You find incredible Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides of this wonderful early pressing, guaranteed to beat anything you've heard - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • We guarantee there is dramatically more space, richness, vocal presence, and performance energy on this copy than others you've heard, and that's especially true if you made the mistake of buying whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing is currently on the market
  • "Southern Accents is an ambitious album, attempting to incorporate touches of psychedelia, soul, and country into a loose concept about the modern South... "Rebels" and "Spike" are fine rockers, and "Don't Come Around Here No More" and "Make It Better (Forget About Me)" expand The Heartbreakers' sound nicely."
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White Hot Stamper

Spirit
Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus

  (Item #: spiritwelv_1907_11_8) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • A stunning Shootout Winning copy of Spirit's 1970 Trippy Masterpiece with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Huge, lively and dynamic - this legendary Psych album creates a wall to wall, three-dimensional psychedelic world all its own
  • Nature's Way, Animal Zoo and Mr. Skin all sound amazing on this copy - there's really not a bad track to be found
  • "Spirit's crowning moment and one of the era's great underrated albums ... enriched by meaty horn arrangements, imaginative vocal harmonies, and a structured approach to psychedelic studio trickery such as stereo panning and tapes run backward."
See all of our Spirit albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Stevie Nicks
Bella Donna

  (Item #: nicksbella_2001_8) 

Our Price: $249.99
Sale Price: $199.99 (You save $50.00 / 20%)


  • Insanely good Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it on both sides for what is surely Ms Nicks' best solo album
  • Both sides are punchy, big and clear, with plenty of hard rockin' energy, as naturally would be expected from the team of Yakus and Iovine
  • Two of her biggest hits are here (and they still hold up): Stop Draggin' My Heart Around & Leather And Lace
  • AMG raves: "Equally engaging are less exposed tracks like the haunting "After the Glitter Fades." Hit producer Jimmy Iovine wisely avoids over-producing, and keeps things sounding organic on this striking debut."
See all of our Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac albums in stock


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White Hot Stamper

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Long After Dark

  (Item #: pettylonga_1907_10_12_8) 

Our Price: $249.99
Sale Price: $199.99 (You save $50.00 / 20%)


  • A STUNNING sounding copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last - exceptionally quiet vinyl too!
  • Both sides are incredibly rich, full-bodied and spacious with tight bass, and brimming with Petty's unique brand of "meat and potatoes" rock and roll
  • You Got Lucky was the big hit on this 4 Star Album from 1982
  • Rolling Stone raves "...overall, Long after Dark is Petty's most accomplished record."
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White Hot Stamper

Tom Petty
Hard Promises

  (Item #: pettyhardp_2007_1) 

Our Price: $249.99

  • An impressive copy of this 1981 release, with KILLER Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on side two - fairly quiet vinyl too
  • Recorded at Sound City, home to some of the greatest analog sound ever recorded, this 1981 pressing still has plenty of ANALOG magic in its grooves
  • 4 1/2 stars: "...filled with great songwriting, something that's as difficult to achieve as a distinctive sound... The Waiting became the best-known song on the record, but there's no discounting A Woman in Love, Nightwatchman, Kings Road, and The Criminal Kind, album tracks that would become fan favorites... it has a tremendous set of songs and a unified sound that makes it one of Petty's finest records."
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Super Hot Stamper

The Band
Music From Big Pink

  (Item #: band_music_2005) 

Our Price: $199.99

  • Outstanding sound for The Band's auspicious debut, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER throughout
  • Forget all those lifeless, ambience-free, vague sounding Heavy Vinyl pressings - THIS is the right sound for the album
  • It's big, punchy and dynamic, and resolves the intricacies of the recording that make it so interesting to us audiophiles
  • 5 stars: "...as soon as "The Weight" became a singles chart entry, the album and the group made their own impact, influencing a movement toward roots styles and country elements in rock. Over time, [the album] came to be regarded as a watershed work in the history of rock, one that introduced new tones and approaches to the constantly evolving genre."
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Super Hot Stamper

The Band
Music From Big Pink

  (Item #: band_music_2007ex) 

Our Price: $169.99

  • Outstanding sound for The Band's auspicious debut, with solid Double Plus (A++) grades or BETTER throughout
  • Forget all those lifeless, ambience-free, vague sounding Heavy Vinyl pressings - THIS is the right sound for the album
  • It's big, punchy and dynamic, and resolves the intricacies of the recording that make it so interesting to us audiophiles
  • 5 stars: "...as soon as "The Weight" became a singles chart entry, the album and the group made their own impact, influencing a movement toward roots styles and country elements in rock. Over time, [the album] came to be regarded as a watershed work in the history of rock, one that introduced new tones and approaches to the constantly evolving genre."
More albums by The Band


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Nearly White Hot Stamper

Stevie Nicks
The Wild Heart

  (Item #: nickswildh_2004) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • With two nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sides, this copy is close to the BEST we have ever heard, right up there with our Shootout Winner - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • The spacious size, vocal presence, bottom end weight and (relative) warmth throughout are exactly the sound you want for The Wild Heart
  • Features a host of stellar guest musicians, including Tom Petty, Mick Fleetwood, Steve Lukather (Toto), and even Prince, though he wasn't credited on the album
  • 4 stars: "The Wild Heart sold to the faithful -- it made the Top Ten, sold over a million copies, and spawned three Top 40 hits... if you loved Bella Donna, you would like The Wild Heart very much."
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Super Hot Stamper

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
The Distance

  (Item #: segerdista_2004) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • The Distance finally makes its Hot Stamper debut with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER throughout - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Rich, dynamic and natural sounding with low end weight, midrange smoothness and powerful, punchy bass
  • Features an A-list of rock and rollers, including Glenn Frey, Bonnie Raitt, and Don Felder, just to name a few
  • 4 stars: "The Distance was hailed as a return to form upon the time of its release and, in many ways, might be a little stronger, a little more consistent than its predecessor, Against the Wind"
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Super Hot Stamper

Dire Straits
Making Movies

  (Item #: diresmakin_2001) 

Our Price: $149.99

  • An outstanding UK early pressing, with Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides - - exceptionally quiet vinyl too, the last clean copy we have in stock
  • Guaranteed to be a huge improvement over anything you've heard, this Brit is big, punchy, and full-bodied with excellent presence - Mark Knopfler's leads really soar
  • Romeo and Juliet comes to life the way you want it to here, and the song Solid Rock lives up to its title
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Making Movies is helped by a new wave-tinged pop production, which actually helps Knopfler's jazzy inclinations take hold ... ranks among the band's finest work."
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Super Hot Stamper

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Long After Dark

  (Item #: pettylonga_1912_7) 

Our Price: $99.99

  • You'll find outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER on both sides of this copy of the band's fifth studio album - reasonably quiet vinyl too
  • Rich and full-bodied with tight bass, and brimming with Petty's unique brand of straight ahead rock and roll, best exemplified by the radio smash You Got Lucky
  • Rolling Stone raves "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers play a finely crafted brand of meat-and-potatoes rock. They shudder to a stop for the occasional ballad or showy guitar figure, but the next surging chorus is never far away. They've been honing that sound for five albums now, and Petty has gradually hoisted himself into the company of such masterful travelers of Route 66 as Seger and Springsteen. ...overall, Long after Dark is Petty's most accomplished record."
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Super Hot Stamper (with issues)

Stevie Nicks
Bella Donna

  (Item #: nicksbella_1910_2ex_) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or BETTER for what is surely Ms Nicks' best solo album
  • Both sides are big and clear, with plenty of rockin' energy as would be expected from the team of Yakus and Iovine
  • Two of her biggest hits are here (and they still hold up): Stop Draggin' My Heart Around & Leather And Lace
  • 4 1/2 stars: "Equally engaging are less exposed tracks like the haunting 'After the Glitter Fades.' Hit producer Jimmy Iovine wisely avoids over-producing, and keeps things sounding organic on this striking debut."
More Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac


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Super Hot Stamper

John Lennon
Walls and Bridges

  (Item #: lennowalls_2004ex) 

Our Price: $74.99

  • An outstanding copy of Lennon's 1974 release, with solid Double Plus (A++) sound on both sides - mostly quiet vinyl too
  • Both of these sides are full-bodied, rich and Tubey Magical with lots of extension on both ends
  • These early British pressings are the only way to go - the domestic pressings are clearly made from dubs
  • "...the best moments come when Lennon is more open with his emotions, like on "Going Down on Love," "Steel and Glass," and the beautiful, soaring 'No. 9 Dream.'"
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Super Hot Stamper

Tom Petty
Hard Promises

  (Item #: pettyhardp_2005) 

Our Price: $69.99

  • An impressive copy of this 1981 release, with outstanding Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it on both sides - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Recorded at Sound City, home to some of the greatest analog sound ever recorded, this 1981 pressing still has plenty of ANALOG magic in its grooves
  • 4 1/2 stars: "...filled with great songwriting, something that's as difficult to achieve as a distinctive sound... The Waiting became the best-known song on the record, but there's no discounting A Woman in Love, Nightwatchman, Kings Road, and The Criminal Kind, album tracks that would become fan favorites... it has a tremendous set of songs and a unified sound that makes it one of Petty's finest records."
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Super Hot Stamper

Stevie Nicks
Bella Donna

  (Item #: nicksbella_1912) 

Our Price: $59.99

  • Excellent Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it for what is surely Ms Nicks' best solo album - exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides are big and clear, with plenty of rockin' energy as would be expected from the team of Yakus and Iovine
  • Two of her biggest hits are here (and they still hold up): Stop Draggin' My Heart Around & Leather And Lace
  • AMG raves: "Equally engaging are less exposed tracks like the haunting "After the Glitter Fades." Hit producer Jimmy Iovine wisely avoids over-producing, and keeps things sounding organic on this striking debut."
See all of our Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac albums in stock


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Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies

Our Shootout Winner from 2010

  (Item #: coopebilli_2010) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This White Hot Stamper copy had the two best sides back to back we heard in our shootout, with a Triple Plus side two that really brings this music to life.

Which is not easy to do, given that the average copy of this album is a sonic mess -- dark, murky, recessed, compressed, thick and congested. There are a lot of green label Warner Bros. records from the '70s that sound like that, one might even call it their "house sound". When you play the later pressings it's obvious that they've gone overboard in cleaning up the murk, leaving a sound that is lean, flat and modern -- in other words, unmusical.

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Crack The Sky - Animal Notes

  (Item #: crackanima_fame) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame and another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you Turn Up Your Volume.

Both sides are big and rich in the same way that all the best Classic Rock albums from the '70s are. It has plenty of rock ENERGY; here the sound jumps out of the speakers like practically no other copy we heard.

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Crack The Sky - Animal Notes

What To Listen For

  (Item #: crackanima_wtlf) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your Crack the Sky records.

The best vintage rock recordings usually have something going for them that few recordings made after the '70s do: their choruses get big and loud, yet stay smooth, natural and uncongested.

We've mentioned it in countless listings. So many records have -- to one degree or another -- harsh, hard, gritty, shrill, congested choruses. When the choruses get loud they become unpleasant, and here at Better Records you lose a lot of points when that happens.

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Dire Straits - Making Movies

Our Shootout Winner from 2017

  (Item #: diresmakin_2017) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Making Movies finally makes the grade on this White Hot Stamper copy! We've tried this one a few times over the years, very rarely having anything to show for it. The typical copy of this album tends to be dry, spitty, grainy, and somewhat dull, robbing the music of much of its charm. These guys obviously know their way around a studio -- many of you must know just how good their first album can sound -- so we've always been frustrated at what we hear on copy after copy that hits out table.

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John Lennon - Imagine

MoFi Pressing (Reviewed in the '90s)

  (Item #: lennoimagi_mofi_) 



Sonic Grade: B

One of the better MoFi pressings from the 2000's

We haven't played a copy of this record in years, but back in the day we liked it, so let's call it a "B" with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds. At the time we said:

I played this when it came out, and I have to hand it to the new MOFI, they did a great job with this one. It sounds better than I''ve ever heard it, and KILLS the old MoFi vinyl, which is the version we did the shootout with.

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John Lennon - Imagine

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: lennoimagi_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

This is the highest rated copy of Imagine to ever hit the site! As crazy as that sounds, it's true -- these are next to impossible to find, they tend to cost big bucks when you do track them down, they're almost always noisy, and they very rarely sound very good. If it wasn't ridiculously difficult to find Hot Stamper pressings of Imagine, it certainly would not have taken us until 2015 to offer one.

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Shelly Yakus

One of Our Favorite Engineers

  (Item #: allshelly_yakus) 



SHELLY YAKUS is one of our favorite recording and mixing engineers. Check out the Shelly Yakus engineered or produced albums we have in stock, along with plenty of commentaries about the sound of the records he's engineered, from Moondance (his first official lead engineering gig) to Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus and more.

See more entries in our Favorite Engineers series


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Spirit - Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: spiritwelv_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

This copy has the kind of sound I always dreamed the album could have, but it took years of listening -- mostly to one flat, grainy, smeary copy after another -- to get here.

This and Spirit's first album are absolute Rock Classics in my book, records that belong in any popular music lover's collection.

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Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna

Our Shootout Winner from 2016

  (Item #: nicksbella_2016) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

It's easy to spot the good ones. They're big and rich, never thin nor harsh. They open up on the top end and go down deeper on the bottom. They're smooth and full-bodied in the midrange. Stevie's vocals are breathy and present. The energy of her performance drives the music the way you want it to.

See all of our Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac albums in stock


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Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna

Speculate Shmeculate

  (Item #: nicksbella_speculate) 



Another in our ongoing series of Random Thoughts on issues concerning music and recordings.

The sound of the typical copy can best be summed up in three words: thin, hard and bright. When the sound is thin or hard or bright the fun factor of this mainstream drops to zero. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around and Leather And Lace both sound great on the radio, why not on Warners vinyl? We can't blame Sheffield Labs, the original cutting house: all the copies we played -- good, bad and otherwise -- were originals and mastered by them.

See all of our Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac albums in stock


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The Band - Music From Big Pink

Our Shootout Winner from 2012

  (Item #: band_music_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

This Capitol pressing has some of the best sound we've ever heard for this album! It’s beyond frustrating to try to find great sound for Big Pink -- most copies tend to be an absolute nightmare. The sound is rich, warm, sweet, and full-bodied with exceptional clarity and transparency. There's tons of ambience and you can really hear the sound of the room around the drums. The sound of the organ is AMAZING!

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Tom Petty - Damn the Torpedoes

The Best Sounding Heartbreakers Album We've Ever Played

  (Item #: pettydamnt_2015) 



Damn the Torpedoes is the best sounding Tom Petty album we have ever played.

Credit must go to SHELLY YAKUS, someone who we freely admit, now with a sense of embarrassment, has never been one of our favorite engineers. After hearing this beyond-White Hot Stamper side two and a killer copy of Animal Notes we realize that we have seriously underestimated the man, and for that we deeply apologize.

If your Damn the Torpedoes doesn't sound good (and it probably doesn't), you sure can't blame him -- the master tape is mind-boggling in its size, weight, power and rock n' roll energy.

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Tom Petty - Hard Promises

Our Shootout Winner from 2014

  (Item #: pettyhardp_2014) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The best copy we've heard in years, with Triple Plus (A+++) sound on both sides -- "The Waiting" sounds superb. You get incredible energy and presence, full extension up top and real weight down low. Many copies can get thin and edgy -- especially on the vocals -- but not this one.

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Long After Dark

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: pettylonga_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock Hall of Fame.

Petty's fifth album boasts the monster rocker You Got Lucky and reasonably good sound considering that the album was recorded in 1982, not an especially good year or decade to be recording music.

The climaxes and the bigger choruses of the songs should be as uncompressed and uncongested as possible to earn our higher grades. When the music gets loud it should stay tonally correct and undistorted, and not all copies can do that, not at the serious levels we like to play our records.

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Van Morrison - Moondance

Our Half-Speed Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: morrimoond_ddlabs_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

We've combined our two best half-speed mastered SuperDisk pressings to give you Super Hot sound for both sides. Of all the half-speed versions we had here, two of them each had one amazing side.

"But Tom," you might say, "I thought you hated audiophile versions of rock records!" Well, we sure don't hate 'em when they sound like this! The best Green Label copies are going to be a step up in class, but you're going to have a hard time finding sound this good for Moondance no matter what kind of pressings you're playing.

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Van Morrison - Moondance

Our Shootout Winner from 2009

  (Item #: morrimoond_2009) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

For the first time ever... a WHITE HOT STAMPER pressing of Moondance on QUIET VINYL! This Warner Bros. Green Label copy has a side two that just can not be beat -- A+++ all the way.

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Van Morrison - Moondance

Our Shootout Winner from 2018

  (Item #: morrimoond_2018) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Musically, the record Moondance most reminds me of is After The Gold Rush. Neil Young set out to make a commercial album that had nothing but strong songs built around catchy melodies, with the highest quality production values. What better describes Moondance? Every song is good, you can sing practically every one of them from memory, and in fact you'll probably feel like singing along with every one of them as they are playing. And the whole album is produced with some of the best sound that was available at the time. (Shelly Yakus engineered, his first time behind the board on a major project if Wikipedia is to be believed.)

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Van Morrison - Moondance

Rhino / Warners Heavy Vinyl Debunked - Again

  (Item #: morrimoond_debunk_2016) 



Sonic Grade: F

The original grade I gave out in 2014 when last I played this remastered version as part of a shootout was "D." I explained at the time:

Just listen to how strange Van's voice sounds, so lean, hard and sour. That alone qualifies it for an "F", but considering how bad most pressings of this album are, let's be fair, if not downright generous, and call it a "D".

I just revisited the record in a current shootout, and after giving it some thought I have decided that the right grade is in fact "F." It cannot be any other, for reasons I discuss below.

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